tv The Situation Room CNN March 18, 2013 2:00pm-4:00pm PDT
when he goes on wednesday. >> never happen. >> it will be interesting to see. >> never happen. rachel, thank you so much for being here. also leading in sports, look around the office today and everyone looks super busey, because they are. i mean, butler versus bucknell, that's a tough call. the productivity takes a real dive during march madness, and that's because everyone has a real shot at winning. even the person, you know who you are, whose picks are based on the favorite colors or whether they think a bear could defeat an eagle. it's estimated office pools could cost companies a couple of billions of dollars in wasted worker hours this month. we've seen some pretty out-there touchdown dances and goal celebrations in our time, but never one that got a player suspended for life, until now. yeah. that'll do it. it's 20-year-old greek soccer player jorgos giving a hiel after the goal. the greek soccer authorities didn't buy that, and they banned him from the greek national team. it's estimated that 87% of the greek jewish population was
wiped out in the holocaust. soon, the best-selling football jersey in america could belong to the orlando predators? is that right? yes. there are reports today that the arena football league team has shown interest in signing tim tebow if the jets cut him, and if no other nfl team wants him. and there's a chance all 32 nfl teams will pass. tebow did not start a single game last year, even though jet fans wanted to run their starter mark sanchez right out of town. i do not care who tiger woods is dating, but apparently he wants us to know that he and olympic skier lindsey vaughn is an item. he posted on the facebook page the news of his new girlfriend, along with several photos of the couple, and a plead that the world respect their privacy, because posting photos of yourself to facebook is the best way to assure your privacy. #you'reit. you tweeted from philly. imagine the flyers every show,
at least once. go with that scene forever. grumpy cat. have people tweet to your guest. that does it for our very first show. weep hope you join us every 4:00 p.m. eastern. now to "the situation room" with wolf blitzer. jake, thanks very much. you're in "the situation room." happening now, the republican party performs an autopsy on itself. there are lots and lots of proposed fixes, but the dissecting the 2012 defeat reveals some deep divisions within the gop. the republican party chairman reince priebus is standing by live this hour. ten years after the invasion of iraq, a bush white house insider is here to reveal the secrets of how america was spun into war. and from gop power broker to cable news kingmaker, a new book pulls back the veil on the controversial fox news boss,
roger. we want to welcome our viewers from the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." in an extraordinary look inward, republicans think they figured out what went wrong back in november. dissecting the election defeat, the gop has found that it is viewed as narrow-minded, out of touch, and full of stuffy old men. one calls for major changes in style and strategy, but how do they go about repairing a deeply divided party? cnn's brianna keilar is here in "the situation room," and she's taking a closer look at this report and fascinating material inside. >> fascinating material inside, and one of the things we're seeing in the republican party, what it's planning to do, is invest some serious money to build the republican brand in
areas that are not republican strongholds, sending republicans basically ambassadors to participate in events in minority communities and even visit historically black colleges and universities. ♪ the math in jay z's campaign trail anthem was a little off. 219 is more like it, if you're talking about the gop failure in the last presidential election. >> there's no one reason we l t lost. our message was weak. our ground game was insufficient. we weren't inclusive. we were behind in both data and digital. and our primary and debate process needed improvement. >> reporter: this morning, rnc chairman reince priebus unveiled the autopsy of what went wrong for republicans in 2012 with a long list of fixes. >> i think we have to be a welcoming party. >> reporter: among then, a $10 million outreach effort to
talk to women, minorities, and young people. >> the debates multiplied, and were out of the control of the rnc. >> reporter: the primary debates with party leaders more involved with them. and then an earlier convention so the nominee can dip into the party's general election warchest sooner. >> so no more august conventions. >> reporter: this gop mea culpa cups as they face a civil war -- conservatives virs versus establishment republicans. this weekend, sarah palin slammed karl rove. >> if they feel that strongly about who gets to run in this party, then they should buck up or stay in the truck. buck up and run. >> reporter: rove hit back on fox news sunday. >> i say if i did run for office and win, i'd serve out my term. i wouldn't -- i wouldn't leave office midterm. >> reporter: and john mccain recently called rising republican star rand paul a wacko-bird. paul responded at the cpac
conference. >> the gop of old has grown stale and moss-covered. [ cheers ] i don't think we need to name any names, do we? >> reporter: now, these divisions have become personal lately in the gop, and i think a way, wolf, we don't normally see. but they're substantive divisions as well. how to tackle the issues like immigration reform, things like same-sex marriage. something that's becoming increasingly popular. and, also, how to tackle women's issues in a way that doesn't repel women, as mitt romney did in november. >> lots of work ahead. thanks very much, brianna for that report. the report, by the way, repaired by the republican national committee, is remarkably blunt in discussing the party's problems. the rnc chairman is blunt, as well. reince priebus is joining us now live from party headquarters. reince, thanks very much for coming in. >> hey, wolf. thanks for having me. i told you it was going to be big and bold, and i know a lot
of people didn't expect it this way. but that's what we delivered this morning. >> certainly did. in fact, i have a copy of it right here, and it's a lot of pages. and the type is pretty small. the font, we should say. let's talk a little bit about what the big problem -- is it a problem of messaging? is it a problem of organization? or is there a substantive policy issue that you have to change? >> well, i think that, you know, here's where i kind of focus in as chairman of the party, and it makes sense. this is where i would first go. and i just think that we have to have a permanent campaign, wolf. i will tell you that i believe -- and i think what's been clear -- is that the quality of our voter contacts have been very poor. in other words, the romney campaign, it's true, they did make more voter contacts than we ever made at any other campaign. but we're comparing ourselves to ourselves. the other side, however, is in communities across america,
coast-to-coast, with barack obama's campaign, by the hundreds of people. going to community events. going to swearing-in ceremonies. going everywhere imaginable. and then establishing those real authentic contacts that no five-month campaign -- no matter how big -- is going to be able to overcome. and that's why we're committed to hiring hundreds of paid people into african-american, hispanic, and asian communities across america, even in 2013, which, for our party, doesn't really like permanent politics, is something very new. >> but is there also a messaging problem there that folks aren't liking the message that you're delivering? >> well, i think it's a matter of, you know -- it's kind of like, you know -- it's not -- our moms used to say, it's not what you say, it's how you say it. and i think it's a lot of that. now, look, one of the issues that i think really cut pretty badly within the hispanic
communities, when mitt romney talked about self-deportation. you know, it's a concept that really doesn't -- it's not our party's position. but it was something that i think hit every hispanic kitchen table across america. on top of that, wolf, if you're not -- if you don't have a year-round, multiyear presence in hispanic communities, you really -- you don't have a real authentic way of trying to dispel some of the narrative that's out there. so in a vacuum, with no presence over the long haul, the narrative and the caricature end up becoming reality. and so, that's why i think we need to do a couple of things. one, we need to go back to reagan's words when he used to say, my 80% friend is not my 20% enemy. we need to be in the community. and we need to accept, i think, different voices within our party in order to grow our party. and that's why i've stood up for rand paul. no one's throwing rob portman under the bus if he disagrees
with someone over his position. and so, i think it takes leadership to build the party. and we need to do less dividing. >> here's a poll we just released, cnn/orc poll. we asked which party favors the rich. 68% said the republicans. 24% said the democrats. is it because republicans are always trying to protect taxes or wealthy people? is that a problem out there with the rank-and-file voters? >> no, i mean -- i don't think so. i think that's obviously a misperception that's become a real perception by the public. but i think we have to talk about things in ways that people can relate to. i mean, if you're talking about taxes and taxing small businesses, you have to talk about the fact that if -- if -- if our small businessman has to pay more money to the government, then he's going to have less money to pay to his ememployers, and the ememployers will have less money to send kids to the school of their
choice. i think it's a matter of talking about the debt differently. not just we are in imminent danger in a debt crisis in this country. but what does that mean to people? it means that our government is growing so fast and it's becoming so expensive that we're making payments to our credit cards that we can't afford, which means we have to keep -- we'll keep having this debate about needing more revenue to the government. well, that means less money in people's pockets. it means less money at home. less money to put in your car. we have to tell the history of our party. the history of freedom and opportunity and equality. which we're not doing. and in your report earlier -- i think -- go ahead. sorry. >> yeah, listening to sarah palin, the republican vice presidential nominee in 2008, what she said at cpac this weekend. >> the next election is 20 months away. now is the time to furlough the consultants and send the pollsters, send the focus groups
home and toss the political scripts, because if we truly know what we do not need professionals to tell us. [ applause ] >> your report suggests we need more professionals. you'll spend $10 million hiring professionals to go out and help. >> well, we're talking about actually going to places like, you know, hialeah, florida, and finding people that are willing to work for us in hialeah who grew up in hialeah and can meet standards and metrics and voter registration community events and other activities. so actually we're talking more grassroots hiring and not so many professionals. i mean, i would say that i think sarah palin's an important voice in the party. so is rand paul. and so is rob portman. so, i mean, my point is, i tonight think we should throw anyone under the bus. we need to have the attitude, let's build. we're not compromising on our principles, but let's have a bigger party that can still
advance the revolutionary ideas of freedom and opportunity, and that's what our party's all about. and that's the attitude that we're trying to bring to the table. >> the old guard, the john mccakes, or the new guards, rand paul? >> listen, i'm for everybody. i think that we've got great horsepower in our party. i think we're a young party. i spoke at cpac, too, wolf. so i think that the guys -- the young faces in our party are the future of our party. we can still honor heroes like john mccain, too. so i don't think we're in any position, wolf, to start cutting people out of our party. we're in no position to build by subtraction. we have to build through addition. stay true to our principles. and talk about our issues and relate to voters in a real detailed way, and in a long-term way. >> reince priebus, chairman of the republican national committee. excellent report. we'll see how it works out for you. thanks very much for coming in. >> all right, thanks, wolf.
coming up, our latest approval poll might be a reality check for president obama. should he be surprised at the results? and up next, look who's playing satan in the popular miniseries "the bible." if you think there's a resemblance, you're not the only one. is it deliberate? what's going on? stay with us. you're in "the situation room." [ man ] i got this citi thankyou card and started earning loads of points. we'll leave that there. you got a weather balloon, with points? yes i did. [ man ] points i could use for just about anything. go. ♪ keep on going in this direction. take this bridge over here. there it is! [ man ] so i used mine to get a whole new perspective. [ laughter ] [ male announcer ] earn points with the citi thankyou card and redeem them for just about anything. visit citi.com/thankyoucards to apply.
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michael, tell us why you used to book this fabulous hotel? well you can see if the hotel is pet friendly before you book it, and i got a great deal without bidding. and where's your furry friend? oh, i don't have a cat. now you can save up to 50% during priceline's spring hotel sale use promo code spring for additional savings on all express deals, including pet friendly hotels. express deals. priceline savings without the bidding. . hillary clinton says she now supports same-sex marriage. what's going on? >> hi, wolf. clinton made the announcement in a video produced by the prominent group, the human rights campaign. take a listen. >> marriage, after all, is a fundamental building block of our society, a great joy, and,
yes, a great responsibility. a few years ago, bill and i celebrated as our own daughter married the love of her life. and i wish every parent that same joy. to deny the opportunity to any of our daughters and sons solely on the basis of who they are and who they love is to deny them the chance to live up to their own god-given potential. >> clinton avoided taking political positions as secretary of state, but says her time traveling the world, quote, inspired and challenged her to think about the values america represents. clinton stopped short of endorsing same-sex marriage during her 2008 presidential run. the same position of then-senator barack obama. public opinion has definitely shifted. a brand-new cnn poll shows 53% of the public says marriages between gay or lesbian couples should be legally recognized at valid, with 44% not supporting same-sex marriage. and class has resumed at the
university of central florida after a student apparently shot himself in a dorm room. authorities found an assault weapon on the scene, but also found the bag of improvised explosive devices. the dorm was evacuated and morning classes were cancelled. the fbi and the orlando police are doing the investigation. president obama is closer to filling out his second-term cabinet. he's officially nominating thomas perez to be his labor secretary. perez heads the justice department's civil rights division. he has been criticized, though, by some conservatives who think he's too partisan, but he is considered a civil rights hero by others. if confirmed, perez would be the only latino in obama's cabinet. and take a look here at this actor who is playing the role of satan in the history channel miniseries, "the bible." all right. so if you think it looks anything like president obama, you are not alone. social media blew up after the scene aired. there were nearly 20,000 tweets
containing the words obama and satan. the producer of the show is denying that it was intentional, saying, quote, this is utter nonsense. the actor who played satan is a highly acclaimed moroccan actor, and he has previously played parts of several biblical epics, long before barack obama was elected as our president. the history channel weighed in, too, releasing this statement. quote, history channel has the highest respect for president obama. it's unfortunate that anyone made this false connection. the silver lining in all of this, though, is a lot of people noticed the resemblance, because a lot of people are watching that show. so the network can certainly take some comfort in that. yeah, the ratings for the history channel has in itself been epic. >> yeah, amazing. >> you have to admit they look alike. >> they do. when i saw the pictures, you could see.
20,000 tweets on that one subject, wolf. >> thank you. up next, as president obama tries to find common ground with the republicans, some fellow democrats may be refusing to give much ground. do they think the president is ready to give away too much? the democrats are standing by to join us. for the first time in six months, the president's job approval rating dips below 50%. a new poll shows why. [ male announcer ] eligible for medicare? that's a good thing, but it doesn't cover everything. only about 80% of your part b medical expenses. the rest is up to you. so consider an aarp medicare supplement insurance plan, insured by unitedhealthcare insurance company. like all standardized medicare supplement plans, they pick up some of what medicare doesn't pay. and save you up to thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket costs. call today to request a free decision guide to help you better understand what medicare is all about.
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curtain on roger ailes. joining us is the author of the brand-new book, roger ailes off camera. thanks very much for coming in. congratulations on what i'm sure will be a bestseller. >> well, thanks, wolf. thanks for having me. >> let's talk a little bit about roger ailes now. he's the fox news president, obviously, as we all know. he's done amazing things over there. but give us a little insight. who is this man as far as politics is concerned? because he's been described as a political machine. >> well, as you know, roger got his start in politics working for dick nixon in '68, and then did some work for ronald reagan and for george h.w. bush. so he's really -- he started out as a political consultant. he's certainly a republican. he's certainly a conservative. that's reflected in fox news. i did a quiz with him that a
professor at ucla had cooked up to measure conservativism versus liberalism. and he took it and so did i, by the way. and it turns out that he is more conservative than the network. and he agreed that that's probably true. >> so he's obviously very conservative in that position that he has, it filters down, i assume, on the network. i want to play a clip. this is sarah palin. she used to be a fox news contributor until the last election. this is what she said at the conservative political action conference that took place in washington this past weekend. >> if these experts who keep losing elections, yet keep getting rehired, raking in millions, if they feel that strongly about who gets to run in the party, then show should buck up or stay in the truck. buck up and run. the architect can head on back to -- [ cheers ]
-- they can head on back to the great lone star state and put their name on some ballot. >> the architect, the clear reference to karl rove. who still is a fox news contributor right now. she no longer is. what happened? why was she either forced out, resigned, dumped, what happened there? >> well, i think it's fair to say that she lost some of her appeal as far as fox news is concerned. and i think that they couldn't get together on how much money she was going to earn, speaking of the millions that she thinks karl is earning. and so, she left. >> because they didn't want to pay her as much as they were paying her, before they offered her a more modest contract? is that what you're saying? >> that's what i understand. i can't tell you for sure. i'm not really an expert on what happened in her negotiations. i do know that roger -- even a few months before the election -- was already thinking
in terms of a post-palin network. >> because he obviously lost her, dick morris, some of the presidential candidates like rick santorum, a fox news contributor, newt gingrich. i see a pattern here, but maybe you see something differently. >> well, you know, they come and they go at fox. and at other networks, too. some people have suggested that ail ai ailswas trying to buy the 2012 nominee by hiring gingrich, palin, and he laughed at that. he said he knew huckabee couldn't raise the money to run, and he knew palin didn't have a shot, and he kne that santorum didn't even win his own state wasn't going to get the nomination. and in my book, i think that you may have heard what he said about newt gingrich. so i think it's fair to say that he just wanted to get a fresh set of faces.
>> the author of the new book roger ailes off camera. thanks very much for coming in. >> thanks a lot, wolf. up next, as president obama tries to find common ground with the republicans, some fellow democrats may be refusing to compromise on some of the most important issues. do they think the president is ready to give away too much? one of those democrats standing by to join us live right here in "the situation room." lets you hear and be heard, even in stupid loud places. to prove it, we set up our call center right here...
...as it is being there. ♪ [ birds chirping ] away is where the days are packed with wonder... ♪ [ wind whistles ] ...and the evenings are filled with familiar comforts. find your away. for a dealer and the rv that's right for you, visit gorving.com. the president's charm offensive has been the talk of the town here in washington, and he spent three days personally meeting with lots of republicans, trying to find common ground on reforms to medicare, medicaid, social security, among other critically important issues. some republicans appear to be willing to compromise, but it's some house democrats who may put the brakes on the president's plans. one of the democrats says he won't bundle on cuts to social security is congressman keith ellison, democrat of minnesota,
here in "the situation room." congressman, thanks very much for coming in. >> thank you, wolf. >> you're uncomfortable with what the president is saying when it comes to entitlement reform, social security, medicare, in particular. why? >> well, i am uncomfortable with it. i do respect the president has a tough job. he's trying to get a deal done here to remove sequester, which i support. but i don't want it to be done to the most vulnerable people's expense in our society. people on social security make about $22,000 a year. their social security allotment is probably about half of that. about 30% of all women on social security rely -- have nothing other than social security to rely on. and so, when we start talking about cutting social security, i get a little nervous about that. >> what he's talking about is a relatively modest change to the way they deal with inflation. the cost of living increases that will be cost of living increases, but not necessarily as high as there would have been. and it translates into a few dollars less per check. >> well, for a woman 75 years
old, it would mean about a $650 less amount in her check per year. now, that may seem like a small amount to you and i, but if you're on a fixed income, very limited income to begin with, that adds up. that's the difference between being able to, you know -- living -- >> so you flatly oppose any changes in what's called the cpi, the consumer price index -- >> called the change cpi is the term. now, look, there are other ways -- there are other reforms we can look at if we want to strengthen social security. we can raise the cap. that's something i think we should look at. there may be other ways. but to say that a beneficiary is going to get a lower amount, even if it's a few bucks, which is a lot to some people, i think we really ought to proceed extremely -- >> are you ready to raise the retirement age? >> i'm ready to raise the cap. though right now, $113,000 is all people are taxed on when it comes to social security. i think it should be higher than that. i think what it ends up -- it ends up meaning that if you're a
higher-income person, you end up paying less overall than a person who makes under $113,000. i'd be for that. >> what about in medicare, for example? richer people would have to pay more than poorer, retirees? >> they already do. medicare is already means tenaed. but, you know, i think the best way to deal with medicare is to fully implement obamacare and to have a public option. what we need to do is get ahold of the cost. what i don't want to do is foist the costs onto seniors without doing much to deal with the price of medical costs, which is really expensive. and that's really where we need to go. get more outcome-based pricing than just services. >> you and another hundred house democrats stating this, among other things, raising the already heavy cost sharing, increasing the age of eligibility, doesn't lower healthcare cost, just shifts them to those who can least afford more, financial burdens, seniors with disabilities, and their families. that was written on february
15th. have you heard back from the white house? >> well, you know, the president has been responsive. he's trying to do a difficult thing. you know what? the reason the job is difficult is because republicans are asking for things that i think are not good for seniors, people on disability, and people who are living on survivor benefits. the president's trying to put all this thing together, and i respect what he's trying to do. but not at the expense of the low -- >> you haven't heard directly back from him? >> he did answer a question i put to him at our meeting. >> was it a good answer? >> it was an understandable answer. the question was about changed cpi, knowing it will result in a lower benefit to people. he said, well, it's a complicated issue. we're trying to get some things done here. and unless i can get the republicans to work with me, it may not -- it may be a moot issue anyway. >> politico reported there was one exchange you had and the name charlie brown came up. >> oh, yeah. >> explain what happened.
>> well, it was just a lighthearted thing. i mean, the president, as you know, has a great sense of humor, and i was saying he is going to be a savvy negotiator. that's the only point he was making. if you know sometimes with lucy pulling the ball up right when charlie would kick it, and then he'd fall for that trick over and over again. the president's point was, he will be a solid negotiator. he's going to keep the interest of the low-income in mind when he does negotiation. and we should trust he's doing all he can. and i do trust the president. i still have an obligation to raise up the interests of my constituents who are just totally skidding by in this tough economy. >> keith ellison, thank you very much for coming in. >> thank you. >> democratic congressman from minnesota. up next, a surprise for president obama. what our latest poll shows about his job approval. then, an insider from the bush white house is spilling the beans about the march to war in iraq ten years ago. the former bush speech writer is here live. zap technology.
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if there was ever a second term honeymoon, it looks like it's over. president obama's job approval rating has dropped eight points since the start of the year, and for the first time since september, it stands below 50%. our new cnn/orc poll puts it at 47%, to be exact. so let's find out what's going on. joining us now, our chief political analyst, gloria bowler and chief correspondent, dana bash. what do you make of the eight-point drop? >> well, i think things have not been going well for the president for the last few months. and i think it shows. and when you look deeper into
this poll, we also ask the question about budget and fiscal policy, do you approve or disapprove of the way the president's handling it? 67% disapprove of the way the president is handling fiscal policy. and i think that has an awful lot to do with this, wolf. >> you know, yes. there's no question that that is a big part of it. i went back with our pollster, katie holland, curious about what the other second-term presidents, going back in history, their third month in, second month in of the second term looked like. and it wasn't that much different. there was a drop from the very beginning. honeymoon was a lot shorter between january and march. but this president, really going back to eisenhower, started out at a lower place. 55% is where he started in january. it's much lower than we've seen. >> you know, i remember in the first press conference after the president was re-elected, he said, you know, i studied those second-term presidents, the clear implication being he wouldn't make the same mistakes they had made. maybe he -- >> well, the republicans are not
doing great either. take a look at this. the cnn/orc poll, opinion of the republican party. 38% have a favorable opinion. 54%, dana, unfavorable opinion. so how can the republicans change this? >> well, you interviewed the rnc chair. obviously, they're making a push to do that. what they're focusing on are all the groups that they didn't win, which are most of the groups. but what -- what actually stunned me was one thing in the poll, if you look inside it, and that is 51% of whites -- remember, those are the only people that they won in november -- 51% of whites don't have a favorable opinion of the republican party. so they're not even putting the majority of the very small section of the electorate that they actually did well with in the last election. >> the republican brand itself seems to me to be in really big trouble. >> yes. >> and that's what the chairman of the rnc was talking about. they understand it. i mean, there have been situations when pollsters have given policy ideas to focus
groups, of people inside, what do you think of this idea? and they'll go, okay. but when they put the tag "republican" on it, they don't like the idea. that's when you know that the party is really in trouble, and they have to figure out who their messengers are. >> mm-hmm. >> because they're really lacking those -- >> well, i think what priebus was saying to you is the merit about the fact that we are starting to see a new generation. >> yeah. >> that, you cannot underestimate the importance of that. you said a million times on air, that mitt romney was a transitional figure. and it's true. you're starting to see, and i see it every day in the senate and the house, new faces coming up. and they, i think, have a much more powerful way of getting through to -- >> and that's where jeb bush is interesting, because he's kind of transitional, a different generation. but he may -- >> and another question in the poll. who's doing enough to cooperate with each other? 42% said obama's doing enough. only 26% said the republicans in congress, dana, are doing
enough. >> right. i mean, that's actually not that surprising. but i think if you talk to many republicans in congress, like i do, one of the main reasons they say that they're not compromising is because they're sticking to their principles, and that's what their conservative base wants them to do. except, again, in this poll, if you just sort of look at what -- what we call the cross tabs, 55% of conservatives -- 55% of conservatives said that they did not think that their own republicans are compromising enough. that, to me, speaks volumes of maybe the fact that there is more of a desire among the republicans' top supporters for them to actually get things done. >> this is the problem the house speaker has. he is completely trapped. he did his fiscal cliff deal. republicans didn't like it. they know they had to kind of do it, because it raised taxes. they didn't like it. if he were to come out now and look like he's compromising and say, by the way, i'll put everything on the table, including taxes, he could lose his speakership. i mean -- and he wouldn't, by
the way, get a pass. >> that's the problem, exactly. never mind the speakership. he couldn't get the votes for it. >> gloria, dana, thank you very much. >> sure. coming up, hard to believe that it's been ten years since the war in iraq started. an insider from the bush white house spilling the beans of what happened in the leadup to the war. the former speech writer david frum, a cnn contributor, is standing by to join us live. before copd...
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david is joining us here in "the situation room." excellent, excellent article you wrote. >> thank you. >> very moving. and you write this, in terms of the buildup to war, you might imagine that an administration preparing for a war of choice would be gripped by self-questioning and hot debate, yet that discussion never really happened. for a long time, war with iraq was discussed inside the bush administration as something that would be decided at some point in the future. then, somewhere along the way, war with iraq was discussed as something that had already been decided long ago in the past. give us a little flavor. take us behind the scenes in the buildup to the war. >> well, i was a strong proponent of the war. both in government, then afterwards when i left. >> you were strongly convinced they had weapon of mass destruction. >> i was strongly convinced they had weapon of mass destruction. i spent a lot of time over the past ten years wrestling with iraq. i think some of the things that happened were for the good. i think the world is better with saddam hussein gone. yet, it's hard to describe what
happened in iraq as a success, and what you're putting your finger on is this process of decision making. you know, it's kind of a mystery when the united states made the decision to go to war with -- in iraq. as late as july of 2002, the british government was treating this as if it were an open question. they sent an emissary to washington to discuss how -- what were the americans thinking. and, yet, president bush seems to have madethinking, yet president bush seems to have made up his mind some time earlier, probably very early, something we were talking about from the beginning of the bush administration, at the beginning of 2001. >> you were among the team that wrote -- helped write the speech, the 2002 bush state of the union address with this very, very memorable passage. listen. >> this is a regime that agreed to international inspections, then kicked out the inspectors. this is a regime that has something to hide from the civilized world. states like these and their
terrorist allies constitute an access of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world. >> you say that the speech marked sort of a point of no return as far as the war was concerned. >> i wouldn't say point of no return, but a real milestone. here's what i think in that speech really stands up to the light of history. back when president bush spoke those words in 2002, it was considered quite shocking and bizarre to think there might be cooperation between hamas and iran. back then the conventional wisdom was, hamas espouses sunni islam, impossible they would cooperate, except we know they do. it would be impossible a stalinist regime like north korea would operate with iran, yet they do. they helped syria develop a nuclear facility that the israelis bombed in 2007. what president bush laid out, those ways of thinking about the terrorism problem, he was saying things largely vindicated, but it's also true that speech
marked a moment where the united states really did begin to move rapidly to a war with iraq, on the claim that iraq had weapons of mass destruction, meaning nuclear weapons. that turned out not to be true. >> you end the article with soul searching. you say this, all of us who advocated for the war had to do some reckoning. if it would have been contrived in a predetermined way, it would have been different. >> ten years later, the war was a prize that cost more than the prize was worth, i think. >> the answer is, yes, it was a blur. >> it was certainly -- when you say that, i don't want to deny that we have important benefits from the war that it's easy to lose sight of that. here's the thing i would invite people to consider. two things. first, in all the years we said hussein was in his box, he was spending revenues that were produced by oil at $20 a barrel.
oil has been at $100 a barrel since 2005. what was saddam hussein been like if he had the enormous r refuge? the second thing to bear in mind is that a lot of our ability now to put pressure on iran exists because iraq has so hugely returned the international oil market. iraq is now the world's number three oil exporter. it's that that makes the sanctions regime on iran possible in a way it was not possible in the 1990s. >> al malaki's regime is in line, that was never in your vision? >> certainly not in my vision, but ironically while his regime is aligned with iran, the objective facts of the energy market mean this new iraq is a problem for iran, not a source of strength for iran. >> excellent article in
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ted turner's son, steven colbert's sister and a disgraced former governor all vying for the same open congressional seat in south carolina. one of the most interesting special elections in years. jim acosta is watching it all unfold from beautiful south carolina city of charleston. jim, how did this bizarre election come about? >> reporter: wolf, all of this got started late last december when jim demint, the very conservative former republican, senator of south carolina announced his retirement. the congressman from this area, tim scott, decided to make his name known that he would like to be jim demint's replacement. he was appointed that replacement, and all of that opened up this wild congressional race as sort of a star wars bar of candidates.
in south carolina, mark sanford needs no introduction, but after the former governor of this state famously tried to cover up an affair by falsely telling the public he was hiking the appalachian trail -- >> i've been unfaithful to my wife. >> reporter: a reintroduction wouldn't hurt. >> we'd learn a lot about grace and second chances. >> reporter: now sanford is asking for voters for a second chance to win his old congressional seat. >> after what you put the voters through, why should they give you a second chance? >> i think that that's one an individually determined thing, that's what a vote is about. what i would say on the larger notion of forgiveness, some people forgave me the next day, some will never forgive me. >> reporter: sanford still has to win a primary against a field of 15, yes, 15 gop rivals. some are fixtures in state politics, another is the son of ted turner.
he's been hit with negative attacks. >> it's absolutely amazing how dirty the game is, how expensive the game is. it just doesn't make sense. >> reporter: and if that's not enough to grab the voters' attention -- >> thank you for your vote and the support. >> reporter: the winner on the republican side would likely face elizabeth colbert-bush. yes, the sister of late-night funny man steven colbert. >> it's colbert, not colbert. >> that's right. >> reporter: although she pronounces the name differently. >> this is not a joke? >> this is not a joke. this is all too important, all too important with the condition our country's in. >> reporter: cnn political contributor, who has roots in south carolina, has his eye on sanford. who seems to be reconnecting with voters. >> there is an affection for a guy who admits he's a sinner and asks for forgiveness, especially down here.
>> is this a shot of redemption, political redemption? >> reporter: sanford says you can learn a lot wandering off trail. >> some ways you learn the most in the valleys of life rather than the peaks. >> reporter: now, mark sanford is expected to win the gop primary here in south carolina tomorrow, but he's not out of the woods yet, because he's not expected to capture 50% of the vote. he'll have to compete in a runoff in a couple of weeks then this campaign should come with an end with the general election in may. wolf? >> jim acosta in south carolina. enjoy at least a night down there. there. jim, thanks very much. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com happening now, the president's trip. and a dangerous new taunt by syria. there's a plane in her house. a survivor of a deadly crash
tells cnn how she escaped. and america's most notorious art heist, has the mystery finally been solved 23 years later? we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. you're in "the situation room." only a day before president obama heads to the middle east. syrian war planes open fire in lebanon. >> the united states is calling it a significant esklation of the assad regime. >> the carnage grows. the port is building in the west to give weapons to syrian rebels. cnn's nick peyton walsh is joining us from beirut.
let's start with the rockets fired into lebanon. how close to the capitol did they come? >> reporter: it was still pretty far out in the border region between lebanon and syria. very mountainous, indistinct where the border is. we understand two war planes hit derelict buildings, but governments tried to keep out of the fighting with a policy that calls disassociation. the concern is not that this will get a government or military response back to syria, but it might ignite the sectarian tensions inside lebanon, which pretty much mirror those that play in syria. also point out, wolf, rebels unleashing a barrage of rockets in central damascus, too. a real uptick in violence today, wolf. >> when it comes to arming the rebels, looks like there's a change emerging from the united states. what's going on? >> reporter: well, john kerry came out today and said quite clearly that he would not stand in the way of allies of the united states who wanted to arm
the syrian rebels. that's not saying the u.s. would do that themselves. they've been very reluctant and the joint chiefs of staff says his understanding of who the rebels were, in fact, got more confused the past year as the rebels gone more extremists. what john kerry's words do is permit the uk and france to begin the process of arming. they've been talking about ev e evading or working around eu sanctions. they are yet to begin the process of handing them over. it's a long, difficult, practical road ahead, but part of the calculation is by saying they'll do it, they might draw president bashar assad towards a negotiation table, put extra pressure on him, wolf? >> joining us from beirut with that story, significant developments. thanks, nick, very much. there are huge problems to tackle in the middle east right now, but the white house is downplaying expectations for the president's trip this week. he leaves tomorrow night for
israel. it will be his first visit there since becoming president of the united states. he'll also travel to the west bank and to jordan. and john king is joining us now from jerusalem. what are they saying there about syria right now? it seems to be a critical moment. >> reporter: it's a critical moment, now, wolf in syria and will be a critical subject of conversation when president obama makes his first trip to israel as president and sits down with benjamin netanyahu. from the beginning the united states has had extremely good cooperation on the intelligence front from the israeli government. obviously, they are in the neighborhood, syria's neighbor to the south. they have a much better picture here, not only of the state of play with the assad regime and its stability. the sources say a few more months at best for assad, but also the movement of chemical weapons. that exchange of information is critical from the united states' standpoint. while israel was out ahead of the obama administration in
saying assad must go, you have to understand it's a little jittery in israel at this moment because they look to the south and what happened in egypt, the rise of the muslim brotherhood, given all the uncertainty of who and what would succeed assad if he were to fall, wolf. important the president and prime minister stay on the same page on this one. >> what do they expect to emerge from president obama's visit to israel this week? >> it's interesting. if you talk to key officials here in israel, talk to members of the palestinian leadership, most of them say at first, not much. they think the president's coming here because he has to, didn't come in the first four years. they think he's coming here because he wants to talk most importantly about the iran nuclear cooperation with netanyahu. they expect president obama to give diplomacy more time and expect the important conversation about syria. they don't expect a new peace initiative from the american president. on the one hand, in a sense, what took you so long, but in a breath, you're too late.
not much can be done now given the levels of distrust. some will say the most important thing is to start to improve the personal relationship. you know, as well as i do, perhaps even better, this president and this prime minister do not have a good personal relationship, but given the issues, iran, syria, and the president's hope that down the road a few months a reviving peace conversations, they have to get more trust, if not peace. >> john, you spent time in gaza. what was that like crossing in, crossing back, what did you see? >> reporter: it was fascinating, wolf. my first time, a very e elaborate security apparatus, even more so when you come back from gaza into israel, they take a close look, check your papers and the like. to go to gaza is to see the two different palestinian territories, ramala has many problems, but much more bustling in terms of the economy, more later model cars, shops and
cafes open. in gaza, poverty, donkeys and horses, some cars, but most older and beat up. still right there in the center of gaza city, big posters celebrating what they call martyrs, murderers, terrorists who carried out strikes on israelis, and, hamas, which, of course, controls gaza. economically, it's devastation, wolf. i was at a furniture factory, for example, 150 employees a few years ago, used to trade to israel, ship to the united states and elsewhere, but israel won't accept exports anywhere, so from 150 employees down to to employees. the owner said he blames israel but also hamas and fattah. competing parties is what's causing devastation in gaza and, wolf, i'll tell you this, there is no hope that president obama is going to make anything different, at least not on this trip. >> yeah, maybe they'll start
something, but sure nothing much is going to be emerging in the immediate period ahead. john, we'll check back with you tomorrow. thanks very much. >> reporter: thank you. president obama's newest cabinet already is facie ining opposition. today thomas perez was tapped to be labor secretary. david vitter and other conservatives say perez is too partisan as head of the justice department's civil rights division, but supporters say perez is a fierce defender of civil rights, who's been working to clean up his department. now that hillary clinton is a former cabinet member, she's publicly announcing for the first time that she supports same-sex marriage. that puts her in line with other leaders of the democratic party including president obama, and, yes, her husband. it's adding fuel to speculation she may be laying groundwork for a presidential bid in 2016. i know you think she will. >> if she's healthy. >> if her health stands, yes.
>> i think she will. >> yeah. tomorrow, pope francis will be formally installed as head of the roman catholic church. the president of the pope's native argentina will be there. christina hernandez kreshner met with him today. fernandez said she asked the pope to intervene with argentina's dispute over the falkland islands. >> joe biden is representing the united states as the pope's installation and is squeezing in diplomacy, meeting today with the italian prime minister. >> the pope himself is delighting crowds in a rare move for the pontiff who spontaneously left vatican yesterday to greet well wishers outside. that was a nervous moment for his security personnel. >> very nervous. that scares whatever the security detail is to this impromptu walk about is telling us a lot, though, about the new pope's style.
it also does underscore the dilemma for his security guards, how do you protect a pope who wanders into crowds? >> we spoke to two people who have been intimatically involved in security for the pope and say it's hard to balance the need for security with the pope's need to embrace his followers and say after sunday's incident, adjustments will have to be made. a new pope with a spontaneous streak steps outside the vatican's cordon to greet the crowd. he's swarmed with affection, but still swarmed. london daily telegraph reporter john bingham shook his hand and said this -- >> didn't know where he was going to walk, where he wanted to go, and i think we saw the car move about five times as they tried to work out what he was thinking, what he was going to do. >> the incident raises the question, how do you protect a
pope that insists on being with followers physically as well as spiritu spiritually. a member of the elite guard who guarded pope john paul ii. i asked how a body guard should respond to a situation like sunday. what are you thinking? >> i think you stay focused, close in on him. there's quite a few people around him. they are trained for this. >> are you looking at people's faces, looking for strange dismovements? >> different people in the security detail would look at different things. >> he doesn't know if the pope wears bullet-proof vests in public. there are conflicting reports on whether the previous two popes, benedict the xvi and john paul ii wore them. it was said john paul believed it was against god's will to wear one. after he narrowly escaped death, the pope mobile was fortified with bulletproof glass.
pope benedict was rushed by the same woman on two occasions, on one instance caused him to fall. a young boy once caused a stir when he ran up to benedict. joe hagen, who coordinated security for pope benedict's visit to the u.s. says pope francis will have a problem only if he mingles with the public at every event. >> if those who would do him harm know that he is hding a mass somewhere and knows that every time he holds the mass, he goes to the crowd afterwards outside, that would be a problem. >> hagin and whittmore say they'll adjust to his spontaneous style but say he'll have to adjust too. he's going to have to stop traveling in those small sedans and switch to more fortified vehicles and motorcades. he's not back in argentina anymore. he's going to have to adjust. >> he's going to have to get
used to it. that's a really big job for the swiss guard. do they have some help? >> in recent years, the italian secret service and regular police have joined in that security detail and whitmore tells me when the pope travels aboard or anywhere a unit of the swiss guards go with him, but those guards do not wear the colorful uniforms. they blend in with suits and things like that. would be odd to see them traveling with him. >> wish the pope only the best. thanks very much, brian todd reporting. coming up, watching tv one minute and the next minute a plane was tearing into her house. a survivor of that deadly crash explains how she and her son got out alive. and the mayor of new york, michael bloomberg, protecting new yorkers from damaging their health. thank you orville and wilbur... ...amelia... neil and buzz: for teaching us that you can't create the future... by clinging to the past. and with that: you're history. instead of looking behind... delta is looking beyond.
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indiana yesterday and sheered it in half. the nose wound up poking through the front window of one home. jim spellman is in indiana where he talked to a survivor. >> reporter: wolf and brianna, this indiana neighborhood is still reeling from a bizarre plane crash that killed two, including a former college football star and injured others. crystal was watching tv, her 6-year-old son was on the computer. >> i heard this loud explosion and i come out of my room and there's insulation and glass everywhere and a window on the floor. i thought there was a hole in the roof, in the front of the roof, but i was just seeing my window, front window, was gone. and that there was a plane in my house. >> reporter: with jet fuel leaking from the plane, she knew the situation was dangerous. >> oh, my god. i couldn't move for a second. i hugged my son and cried and we got out. we walked out. >> reporter: patricia and her son were safe, but two aboard
the plane were killed. the twin engine jet reported mechanical problems and attempted to land about a half mile in this direction, but it never touched down. it was reportedly making another attempt to circle around, but it never made it, crashing about halfway down this block. ntsb investigators are working the scene, trying to term a cause of the crash before removing the plane from the house. killed on board the flight were steve davis, star quarterback who led the oklahoma sooners to 28 victories and two national championships from 1973 to 1975 and wes caves, owner of the plane. how do you think you were able to survive unhurt and just walk out? >> i don't know. somebody was watching over us. they had to be. >> reporter: most neighbors have been allowed back to their homes but could be seven to ten days before ntsb has the preliminary finding on the cause of the crash. david spent 18 years as a college football broadcaster after he finished playing. wolf and brianna? >> thanks very much.
what a horrible story that is. more evacuations, meanwhile, today from the path of a wildfire waging near the resort town in tennessee. 35 cabins have been damaged. propane tanks have exploded. one resident says it looks like a bombing site. the blaze started with a house fire yesterday and now spread to 230 acres. high winds are fanning the flames and making it hard for helicopters to drop water on the fire. imagine a 10% tax on your savings. that is what people in one very small country are facing. up next, why it could save an entire continent. [ male announcer ] it's red lobster's lobsterfest our largest selection of lobster entrees, like lobster lover's dream or new grilled lobster and lobster tacos. come in now and sea food differently. visit redlobster.com now for an exclusive $10 coupon on two lobsterfest entrees. visit redlobster.com now great first gig! let's go! party!
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union rattle wall street today. brianna has that. some of the other top stories, significant development in the small country but could have ripple effects. >> first, wolf, all three major indexes lost ground today as concern about the eu debt crisis roored back to life. a controversial bailout plan helped push the dow down early in the day, but it did regain ground and was off 62 points at the closing bell. the bailoff plan, customers face a one-time take on their deposits as high as almost 10% for large accounts. cyprus is a bank haven popular with wealthy russians. richard quest explained on cnn's "around the world." >> some european countries believe to be the germans and other northern european countries wanted to make sure they were not seen as bailing out rich russians who had
accounts in cyprus. or, indeed, they now felt that people had to pay their part of the pain. but, it was not done in ireland. it was not done in portugal. it was not done in greece. with the prospect and possibility of spain and italy, you can see. i cannot find, michael and suzanne, i cannot find one economist or banker that i've spoken to today that says this was a good idea. everybody agrees it was a pretty awful policy. >> that financial panic has prompted the government in cyprus to order all banks closed until at least thursday. two escaped prisoners are back in custody, along with two men who helped with their very bold breakout. they posed as tourists and chartered a sightseeing helicopter, but they forced a pilot at gunpoint to fly over a jail near montreal and lowered ropes to two waiting prisoners and whisked them away.
all four were captured six hours later after a shootout. they don't know what they are having, but she wants a boy and she wants a girl. that's according to the pregnant dutchess of cambridge herself. you may recall a slip of the tongue this month raised speculation the royal couple are having a girl. the dutchess says she's excited about the baby, which is due in july. and up next, republicans are at odds over whether a grand bargain with the president is possible. after the break we'll talk to gop senator bob corker who's a lot more optimistic than the house speaker. why the split? find out next.
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nlove. as americans, we believed we can'tin freedom.person we that's what i fought for as a marine, and that's what we believe in as republicans. freedom means freedom for everyone. i didn't use to understand the importance of same-sex marriage, but after learning my brother was gay i wanted the same rights for him. he was the best man at my wedding and i want to be the best man at his. it's only fair that calvin should have the freedom to marry the person he loves, too. it's time for marriage.
♪ it was the best day ♪ ♪ it was the best day yeah! ♪ it was the best day ♪ because of you [sigh] [echoing] we make a great pair. huh? progressive and the great outdoors -- we make a great pair. right, totally, uh... that's what i was thinking. covering the things that make the outdoors great. now, that's progressive. call or click today. happening now, breaking ranks. we'll ask republican senator bob corker why he's hopeful about a long-term budget deal with the president when some party leaders aren't. the mayor's new target after bloomberg attempted to crackdown on sugary drinks, what he's doing now for an encore.
and a 23-year-old museum mystery. the feds think they finally cracked a case of the boston art heist. i'm wolf blitzer. >> i'm brianna in for kate baldwin. >> you're in "the situation room." it is one of the great debates in washington right now, can president obama and republicans reach a long-term agreement on reducing the deficit? >> the answer, different depending on which republican you ask. house speaker john boehner doesn't sound very hopeful. he's standing firm against the idea of increasing tax rates, increasing tax revenue. >> the president believes that we have to have more taxes from the american people. we're not going to get very far. if the president doesn't believe that the goal ought to be to balance the budget over the next ten years, i'm not sure we're going to get very far. and this is the whole issue. we have a spending problem here
in washington, and it's time to solve the problem. >> we're hearing different things coming from various republicans, including senator bob corker. he's a republican of tennessee. he says he's optimistic about the possibility of what's called a grand bargain, and he's open to the idea of raising tax revenues to cut the deal under certain circumstances. senator corker's joining us now from capitol hill. senator, thanks very much for coming in. >> good to be with you, wolf, thank you. >> you heard speaker boehner saying there's no discussion as far as he's concerned about additional tax revenue. you're saying you're still hopeful there can be a deal in the next four or five months. what's going on? >> well, wolf, i do think the best environment we're going to have under this president's term is going to be between now and august 1st. we're going to move through the sequester process on the senate floor either tonight or tomorrow. we'll pass the bill that funds government at the lower sequester level. i think that's a major victory. we'll have the budgets next
week, then we'll have a period of time of about four months before the debt ceiling is hit. i think that's the most fertile time for us. i think what republicans want to see, wolf, they want to see a 75-year actuary soundness. we want to make sure the programs are going to be there for the future. the president knows we want to make sure these programs are there, and what the presidents wants, obviously, is some additional revenue. i believe there's a possibility if we could get the 75-year soundness on medicare and social security with appropriate changes and reforms, i think there may be a way through full tax reform to do something that will generate revenue and fit the needs of both sides, and that's what i'm hopeful is going to happen over the next four months. look, there's no negotiation that's happening right now. there's some general discussions that have taken place, but i think the environment is going to be the best that it's been in the next several months. >> just to be precise, under
certain circumstances to save social security and medicare over 75 years, you'd be willing to raise tax revenue. do you have a number, two to one, three to one, spending cuts versus tax revenue, along those lines, what do you see? >> you know, when we say revenue, we're talking about through closing loopholes, through streaming the process. it's going to be some economic growth that will generate revenue through that entire process if we do it right. again, republicans want to see the tax code change so that it generates the kind of economic growth that we need to have in this country, which is, by the way, the greatest solver of some of the deficit issues that we have. i don't have a ratio. i do know those are the two pieces of the puzzle, wolf, and there's enough commonality to me between what we're saying and what they are saying is what we should try to do is build off that commonality over the next several months and do something
that would be great for the american people. to go back to rashios, remember, the number that, of course, it's moved around a big deal, but he's already received a great deal of revenue, and so really the revenue piece, if it happens, should be a much smaller component than it was g in e first place. >> senator, you're leaving the door open to that, so if i'm listening to you, i might be encouraged there could be some common ground found, but there is a split between the leadership in your party and the rank and file members of the republican party that's discouraging. >> no, no, there's no split. i think if you listen to the words that are being said and you listen to mitch mcconnell's comments in the past, you listen to a lot of people on our side of the aisle, again, republicans want to see tax reform take place. we think it's one of the things that can really drive economic growth in our country.
so, if you look at potential additional revenue through tax reform and you look at entitlement reform that's really solving this problem, i don't think you're really hearing that much differentiation between people speaking. so, i'd listen closely. i think people are open to economic growth, and we, obviously, want to see that and the revenues that come from that and tax reform can help generate that. again, i'm listening to a lot of folks, and i do think there is an overlap that's good enough for us to begin some discussions that could bear fruit. >> senator, i want to get your take on this autopsy that came out this morning, the rnc put this out looking back at the 2012 presidential election. one of the things that you can read in this is an emphasis on changing, not the message, but maybe the messenger, maybe the way the message is packaged. do you think that that's the right way to go, or do you think maybe the message of the republican party does need to be
tweaked a little bit? >> you know, i'm a policy person. i was in business all of my life, and i really arrived in the public arena almost as a civic endeavor. i try to focus on policy, and i've always said that great policy is good politics, and that's what i tried to focus on. i kind of leave it to others to prognosticate. i think each of us has to figure out a way to make a difference in this world, especially in this public world. the way i found best is to try to solve problems that are great for the long-term respect of our country and i don't know that i can get into messages and messagers. obviously, there was some mistakes made, and no doubt there was some technology advantages that the other side had been able to create for themselves, but i think right now for anybody to say they have exactly the right answer is probably not where we are. and i think things are going to evolve. and i think it's healthy that
you have a lot of people offering a lot of different ideas about the problem. for me, i've always felt that if you offer policy solutions to the problems of this country, especially those that are addressed the long-term issues that we have, you're going to be in a good place. it's worked well for me back home, and i think it will work well for people on both sides of the aisle to focus in that manner. >> one final question, senator, before i let you go. there is a split amongst senate republicans. on the one end you've got marco rubio and rand paul, the younger generation, then you've got john mccain. there have been some angry exchanges between rand paul and john mccain, as you know, in the past few days. where do you see yourself fitting into this split? >> look, wolf, i'm a great friend of john's and lindsey's and have gotten to know rand and marco coming in.
and look, you know, every now and then you're going to have some dust ups. it seems especially those ones relative to foreign policy end up sometimes driving the most passionate dust up. but look, we have four great senators that you've mentioned there. they all have very differing ideas. they are all part of our caucus and bring a lot to it. i think it's time to move on and focus on those things that unite us. look, i really do think it's healthy that people are being as outspoken as they are right now, and hopefully that will lead to some unification down the road. >> senator corker, always good to have you here in "the situation room." thank you. >> thank you. there are very few places left in new york where you can smoke them, and now mayor michael bloomberg wants to make it so you can't see them. up next, controversy over his plan to force stores to hide cigarettes.
he's gone after trans fats, sugary drinks, now new york mayor michael bloomberg is turning his sights on cigarettes. cnn's mary snow is in new york with details. mary, what's going on with this? >> reporter: brianna, this isn't the first time the mayor has taken on the tobacco industry. this is a new approach, though. and if the last battles were any indication, he'll likely face strong opposition. after a defeat over supersized sugary drinks, new york city mayor michael bloomberg is now taking aim at tobacco, again. he wants a first of its kind city law to force stores to hide cigarettes and tobacco products, under counters, behind curtains,
in drawers, but not in plain sight. he explained his push on cnn's "the lead" with jake tapper. >> trying to deglamourtize, don't remind them, don't make it look like a normal product. cigarettes are not a normal product. >> reporter: the main goal is to get teen smoking rates to drop. the city says they've remained flat since 2007. tobacco shops like this one could be exempt because kids under 18 aren't allowed in. new york has led an aggressive fight against smoking and became one of the first cities to ban it in bars and restaurants. it now touts the drop in smoking rates, but it's not convincing retailers. the new york state association of convenience stores says the notion of forcing licensed, tax collecting, law-abiding retailers to hide their tobacco inventory is patently absurd. at the skyline deli, where a pack of cigarettes can cost
almost $14 because of high taxes, muhammad akandi worries about the bottom line. >> people might walk by, not see cigarettes, just keep going to the next store. you got to remember, every block has a deli around here. >> reporter: others grumble about bloomberg's regulations on the heels of last week's ruling by a judge to invalidate the city's rule to ban large sugary drinks, now in the appeals process. with all the talk about spoonfuls of sugar, cartoons have depicted bloomberg as mary poppens. he was asked about it. >> i take that as a great badge of honor. i can't think anything i'd like than save lives. didn't you learn as a kid, we're on this earth together, we should be trying to help each other and save lives? that's one of the most wonderful cartoons i've seen. >> reporter: unlike the ban on large sugary drinks, which was decided by the department of health, this time the mayor is seeking legislation. a bill is expected to be introduced to the city council on wednesday.
wolf and brianna? >> trying to do as much as he can, i guess, before he leaves office. mary, thanks for that report. >> chooe teetos on a high shelf. >> $14 for a pack? >> very expensive. it's a very expensive habit. >> maybe people should stop smoking. >> they can save money. just ahead, growing fears of a major cyber attack as we get more information about hacking that may have changed the outcome in voting in florida. twins. i didn't see them coming. i have obligations. cute obligations, but obligations. i need to rethink the core of my portfolio. what i really need is sleep. introducing the ishares core, building blocks for the heart of your portfolio. find out why 9 out of 10 large professional investors choose ishares for their etfs. ishares by blackrock. call 1-800-ishares for a prospectus which includes investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses. read and consider it carefully before investing. risk includes possible loss of principal.
it comes as officials are stepping up warnings about the cyber threat facing the u.s. cnn pentagon correspondent chris lawrence is working this story for us. what's the latest, chris? >> brianna, the officials in florida were able to block this cyber attack before thousands of absentee ballots ended up in the hands of folks who had no business getting them. the scary thing is, these attacks are only going to become more sophisticated and they are going to come more often. thousands of phony voters could have had a say in florida's primary election. a cyber attack bombarded florida election officials with 2,000 to 3,000 requests for absentee ballots. none of them for real voters. the requests came from untraceable i.p. addresses overseas. this cyber version of stuffing the ballot box may only be the beginning. worries about a major cyber attack have skyrocketed in the last year. >> iran is already at the shores
of the united states with cyber attacks, and that's what's so concerning. >> reporter: iran is one of the suspects behind this cyber attack that destroyed 30,000 computers at the world's largest oil producer and a another that disrupted online banking for american customers last year. remember, a simple software failure triggered the northeast blackout in 2003. >> now think about somebody imposing a software failure, not just in the northeast, but across all of those, and cascading that across the united states. >> reporter: and cyber may be the next great equalizer that makes poor adversaries able to combat u.s. military power. >> other nations are spending most of their money to take commanding control of our kinetic weapons. >> reporter: allen pollard co-chairs a task force on cyber skills and says nations are building viruses that could make it so an american military commander won't trust their own missiles or drones. >> if it gets inside computers
that control the weapons systems, he can't be sure where the weapon is going to aim when he shoots it. >> reporter: scary stuff, and it's one of the reasons jack lew is heading to beijing tomorrow. u.s. officials tell us he's going to carry a very firm message to the chinese that they have to take steps to stop these cyber attacks. the thing is, u.s. officials have the thing is, u.s. officials have warned the chinese before and attacks by chinese officials actually spiked in the middle of last year. >> i think we'll be talking a lot more about this in the months and years to come. chris lawrence at the pentagon, thank you. >> very scary stuff. the most notorious art heist in america's history may be closer to being solved 23 years later. federal authorities reveal surprising new information today about the brazen theft of 13 works of art from a boston museum worth some $500 million. lisa sylvester has this story for us. what's the latest?
>> hard to believe that this art washing was never recovered. there have been numerous theories but the fbi says they crucial pieces of evidence in the case and they believe they're closer than ever to solving one of the greatest art heists of all time. >> reporter: 1:24 in the morning in boston, the day after st. patricks day in 1990. two men dressed as police officers bluffed their way in saying they heard there was a disturbance at the isabella garden are museum. they tied up the two guards on duty and took them down to the basement. during the next 81 minutes, they committed one of the largest property thefts in history, taking 13 different art works, now worth about $500 million. >> imagine if you could never hear beethoven's fifth or any great music you enjoy. that is the same when you lose a painting like the ones we've lost, the singular master works by some of the world's greatest artists.
>> reporter: the thieves entered the first floor and went to the blue room and stole a monet painting. then they went to the dutch room and stole six paintings, some of them cut out of the frimz. among them, three recommend brants including the artist's only seascape. and there are only 34 vermier paintings believed to exist. then they crossed into the short gallery and took another six art pieces including five degal pieces. the masterpieces have never been recovered and no arrests made. after combing through thousands of leads that have taken investigators around the world, the fbi announced it now knows who took the art work. investigators are reasonably sure organized crime is involved. >> it's likely the art work changed hands several times and those who are in possession of the paintings right now might not necessarily have been those that were involved in the original theft. >> reporter: but where are the 13 pieces of art now? the fbi says it does not believe the pieces ever left the
country. they say about 12 years ago some of the masterpieces were seen in connecticut and philadelphia where someone tried to sell them. >> i don't know if all 13 pieces are still together. we received information that we've been able to corroborate showing the paintings may have been in different locations at different times. >> reporter: the two men who commit the crime will likely never be charge the because the statute of licktatimitations wa after 20 years. one of the reasons for the high level of confidence is they're offering a $5 million reward. the museum says that is one of the largest private rewards ever put up. they're hoping that someone out there might have seen these paintings in an attic, basement, a home and asking if you have any information, contact the fbi at this number, 1-800-call-fbi. and if you want to view the stolen masterpieces up close, we have posted images of them on our show blog, cnn.com/situationroom. we have all of the 13 images on there so people can take a look.
who knows? maybe there is somebody who has seen one of these pieces. there are $5 million up for grabs. >> if you find them. >> how did they not get busted? >> the statute of limitations was actually up after 20 years. we're now at 23 years. so the people, actual people involved, sorry, there's not much that they can do. however, the people in possession of these art works, that is still a crime. but the prosecutors say that they would be willing to give immunity in certain cases. so really at the heart of all this, they want the art back. >> they want it, $500 million worth of art and they want it back. lisa sylvester, thank you. an article about race sparks an uproar in the city of brotherly love. cnn's erin burnett is going "out front" on the story. >> this article is getting such incredible feedback. it is called being white in philly. the mayor of philadelphia called it pathetic and uninformed. there is a town hall tonight. the editor of that magazine is going to be our guest tonight
and someone said that the character satan in the hit series on history channel called "the bible" looked like president obama. that person said it was all in fun. in tonight's essay, we look at the record on glenn beck. back to you. >> erin, thanks for that. and when is popping the question breaking news? a woman raids her proposal on the teleprompter on the air. the happy couple talks to cnn's jeannie moos. ♪ to more efficient pick-ups. ♪ wireless is limitless. [ female announcer ] from tracking the bus. ♪ to tracking field conditions. ♪ wireless is limitless. ♪ all right that's a fifth-floor probleok..
science and evidence based drug and alcohol treatment center. where your addiction stops and your new life begins. call now. thnch . this is a marriage proposal that a tv journalist won't forget and neither will her viewers. here's cnn's jeannie moos. >> reporter: how did this news anchor find out she was getting married? she heard herself deliver the news. >> and we do have some breaking news to report you to. we have just learned that a huntsville news anchor is being proposed on live tv right now. >> we're leaving. >> reporter: the rest of the wzdx team walked off the sort and her boyfriend walked on. he sabotaged the teleprompter. i